Press Release
October 5, 2011


Senator Edgardo J. Angara assured teachers of his continuing commitment to their welfare in terms of increasing teacher salaries and benefits as well as enhancing teacher training and education.

"Teachers are at the frontline of our efforts to advance our country's development through education. They are our unsung heroes who, day in and out, dedicate their lives to shaping the Filipino youth, despite low wages and the many lacks in our educational system," said Angara, Chair of the Senate Committee on Education, Arts and Culture, today during World Teachers' Day.

The pupil-to-teacher ratio in the Philippines is 35 at the pre-primary level, the highest in Southeast Asia, according to the World Education Digest of the United Nations. At the primary education level, it is at 34, better only than those of Cambodia and Timor-Leste. This ratio climbs to 35 at the Secondary Level, again the highest in the region.

Furthermore, our public school system demands 1,182 teaching hours per year at the primary and secondary levels, much higher even by the standards of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, which is 805 hours on average.

"It is clear that the achievements of our country is due in great part to the perseverance of our educators. Government, in turn, should guarantee them adequate support through the expansion of benefits and incentives, and the strengthening of professional development programs for teachers," urged Angara, former President of the University of the Philippines.

He also underscored the importance of improving teacher education. "In order to improve the performance of students and graduates, we must first upgrade the training received by our teachers. We should improve our standards to avoid wasting our human resources."

Last April, only 5,221 elementary teachers out of 33,023 examinees (15.81%), 35 Accelerated Teacher Education Program (A.T.E.P.) graduates out of 339 examinees (10.32%) and 7,690 secondary teachers out of 29,267 examinees (26.28%) successfully passed the Licensure Examination for Teachers.

"Teachers are our primary partners in nation building. We ought to recognize the exemplary teachers in our schools, and continuously encourage them to keep their morale high," he continued.

Angara is a staunch advocate of reforms in both teacher policy and education in the country. He is author of the Philippine Teachers' Professionalization Act (RA 7836), Government Assistance to Students and Teachers in Private Education Act (RA 6728), and the Strengthening Teacher Education in the Philippines (RA 7784).

In the 15th Congress, he continues his commitment to strengthening teacher support through Senate Bills 2063, amending The Magna Carta for Public School Teachers, and 2035, or the Expanded Government Assistance to Students and Teachers in Private Education Act. These measures will provide additional benefits to teachers through scholarship grants, free medical treatment and pension.

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